In the IAM, the membership leads through democratic participation.
There is little doubt that when you compare the IAM with other unions, especially the Teamsters, the IAM is a more democratic and transparent union that values accountability and service to its members.
In the IAM, representatives–from local shop-stewards to the International President–are elected by the rank-n-file membership. IAM US Airways members are in local lodges comprised of air transport workers and are generally located in close proximity to IAM members’ workplaces.
This type of democratic and participatory structure leads to transparency, accountability and superior service to the membership.
The Teamsters, in stark contrast, disenfranchaise workers by placing them in very large local unions that are controlled by local union bosses from other industries and companies. These bosses often appoint their political cronies to leadership positions, paid for by rank-in-file dues paying members who have little or no chance of having a representative from their workgroup/craft as their advocate.
A case in point is the experience of the United Airlines Mechanics from San Francisco.
The United Mechanics ousted AMFA in 2008 in favor of the Teamsters. When the National Mediation Board certified the Teamsters as their authorized representative, the United SFO Mechanics were split in half and placed in two separate locals. This underhanded, politically motivated act ensured that the United Mechanics would remain a poltical minority in any of the Teamster locals they were placed.
Because the Teamsters dillute the voting power of Aircraft Mechanics, Teamster Business Representatives–the equivalent of IAM District General Chairpersons–come from other industries and are APPOINTED by local Teamster Presidents. As a Teamster member you DO NOT have the right to elect those that negotiate and enforce your contract, or defend you in an arbitration hearing.
In the IAM, there is real democracy and the members direct their leadership through electoral participation. If leaders don’t produce in the IAM, they are held accountable at the ballot box.
To be sure, the last decade has been rough on the entire airline industry, particularly for Aircraft Mechanics. However, the IAM has stood strong and has negotiated in extremely difficult circumstances, specifically bankruptcy court.
We now stand ready to make gains at the negotiating table, and we need unity, not divisiveness, so we can achieve the dignity and respect we so rightly deserve. Now is not the time to entertain false promises from the Teamsters who have NEVER shown they have been up to the task. Now is the time to join together in unity and support OUR union to ensure that OUR interests are achieved.
Please take time to educate yourself on the IAM Advantage and the Teamster’s failed promises to Aircraft Mechanics.
For more information on this and other broken Teamster promises, please click here.